February 20, 2020 Winter 2020 Externships: Experience and Explore

creek bed with two workers in hard hats

While some students use winter break as a time to catch up on sleep, reconnect with friends and family or enjoy holiday food, Landscape Architecture students spent their 2019-2020 break networking with professionals and increasing their design experiences.

Ten students in the School of Landscape Architecture spent their winter breaks participating in externships across the country. From the “Golden Gate City” of San Francisco to the legendary, historical city of Salem, Mass., our students explored the innerworkings of top firms and gained priceless professional experiences.

Externships are short-term internships, typically spanning between one week and one month, where students visit a firm to shadow, observe and work with professionals. Externships normally occur during winter or spring break.

During these experiences, students spend 1-2 weeks gaining exposure to a firm’s projects and daily operations. For most students, externships also are seen as an opportunity to experience what it’s like to live and work in a different city.

Taylor Harrell, 5th-year Architecture student in the 5+1 program, externed with Landworks Studio in Salem. She described what is was like to work with a renowned firm and how its supportive studio culture and diversity impacted her career goals.

“Working at Landworks over winter break was an amazing experience that opened my eyes to thoughtful design, professionalism and supportive studio culture in the world of landscape architecture,” Harrell said. “I worked on local projects in Boston and international projects in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai. These projects helped me learn more about cultural differences and how these must be incorporated into design methods in order to achieve success.”

Third-year Landscape Architecture student, Sam Irwin, completed a second externship. In 2018, he externed with Firma in Nashville and found his experiences so valuable, he completed his second externship this winter with Great Ecology of Denver, Colo. Like Harrell, Irwin was exposed to new ideas surrounding landscape architecture that has deeply impacted his ideas about his future.

“Externing for Great Ecology was truly a wonderful experience,” Irwin said. “While there, I learned about ecological consulting, which is a highly specialized field that is attracting more and more landscape architects. I learned that it takes a wide variety of professionals from many different disciplines working together to achieve a well-organized ecological design.”

Other students who participated in winter externships include Sidney Bittinger, Sanders Pace in Knoxville; Caleb Brackney, Reed+Hilderbrand in Cambridge, Mass.; Sue Choi, Design Workshop in Denver; Matt Cowan, WMWA in Chattanooga, Tenn.; Chloe Kilpatrick, Firma in Nashville; Wes Lamberson, Equinox Environmental in Asheville, NC; Wyatt Pless, Bionic in San Francisco; and Kinsey Simmerman, IBI Placemaking in Knoxville.

Though each student had different experiences, they all recognize that these opportunities came about thanks to the dedication of Gale Fulton, director of the School of Landscape Architecture. Students in the School of Landscape Architecture interested in a winter or spring break externship should contact Fulton.


Learn more!

Read about our students’ externships in 2018-2019

Apply to the School of Landscape Architecture


Article written by Caitlin Long, Communications Intern